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Birth Control Methods

Birth Control Options

There are lots of birth control options to choose from. Your pharmacist can discuss all your options, including intrauterine devices (IUDs), implant, and nonhormonal methods. Your pharmacist can refer you to another provider if you'd like an IUD or implant. Your pharmacy will have nonhormonal methods available for purchase — such as condoms and spermicide.

The pharmacist can prescribe the following hormonal methods of birth control, with some limitations depending on which state you are in. Check with your local birth control pharmacy on which methods they can provide since some do not provide the shot.

The Pill

Also called “the pill,” combined oral contraceptives contain the hormones estrogen and progestin.

Unlike the combined pill, the progestin-only pill (sometimes called the minipill) only has one hormone, progestin, instead of both estrogen and progestin.

Both types of pills should be taken at the same time each day.

This is the most popular method of hormonal birth control.

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The Ring

The ring releases the hormones progestin and estrogen. You place the ring inside your vagina. You wear the ring for three weeks, take it out for the week you have your period, and then put in a new ring.

This option works well for people who do not want to use a daily method of birth control.

The Patch

This skin patch is worn on the lower abdomen, buttocks, or upper body (but not on the breasts). It releases hormones progestin and estrogen into the bloodstream. You put on a new patch once a week for three weeks. During the fourth week, you do not wear a patch, so you can have a menstrual period.

The Shot

This shot has only one hormone, progestin. It is given in the arm (or buttocks) every three months.

​This option works well for people who do not want to use a daily method of birth control.

The Morning After

Emergency contraception (also known as the morning after pill) can be used after no birth control was used during sex, or if the birth control method failed, such as if a condom broke. There are two options for emergency contraception pills — Plan B One-Step (also available over-the-counter) and Ella. Emergency contraceptive pills can be taken up to 5 days after unprotected sex, but the sooner the pills are taken, the better they will work.